Cold north wind to hold the magnolias back again – no harm in that.
More rhododendrons looking sick. Here a clump of 3 Rhododendron ‘Saffron Queen’ with one on the way out following the drought.
Our new 2021 clump of 10 Rhododendron viscosum below 4-in-Hands has also seen 6 of the plants in the fullest sun succumb to the summer heat.
A good clump of early daffodils on Bond Street.
Our best clump of snowdrops is on Bond Street but these are nearly over after 3½ weeks in flower.
Early new growth and only minor die back (as yet) on Hypericum lancasteri.
Another windblown branch from Acacia citrinoviridis on the bonfire pile.
Daphne bholua ‘Mary Rose’ has small flowers this year and not as dark a colour as usual.
Rhododendron campylogynum in the Rockery is two thirds dead from the drought and the other third is on its last legs. This species live on 20-30 years here.
2022 – CHW
To Cheshire and Manley Cottage for Lizzie’s mum’s memorial service in Tarporley.
The garden at Manley Cottage was springing into life.
Chaenomales x superba ‘Nicoline’
Daphne bholua ‘Jacqueline Postill’ full out with plenty of root suckers appearing.
Daphne bholua ‘Jacqueline Postill’ and Jasminum nudiflorum.
Kerria japonica ‘Pleniflora’
Amazingly Leujocum aestivum were already out. Ours are hardly out of the ground yet in Tin Garden.
A pale form of Rhododendron mucronulatum with leaves also appearing. Perhaps three to four weeks behind our plants at home.
Rhododendron ‘Christmas Cheer’ just out.
White violets out in numbers too.
And plenty of cyclamen.
Quercus wizlizeni as a mature evergreen tree. Interesting bark.
The dwarf Rhododendron sargentianum just starting.
While Rhododendron cilpinense still in bud.
I think this is Hamamelis x intermedia ‘Arnold Promise’ but may be wrong and it is similar to Hamamelis ‘Brevipetala’. It looks faintly orange from a distance but the short flowers are yellow close to. A very ancient plant with props to keep it in place. Wonderful scent and quite late on in February for a hamamelis to still be full out. ‘Arnold Promise’ is late into flower the reference books say.
Manley Cottage on a bleak day.
Chaenomales x superba ‘Nicoline’ and Daphne bholua ‘Jacqueline Postill’.
Hamamelis x intermedia ‘Diane’.
Campanula still in flower after a mild winter.
Pieris japonica ‘Taiwanensis Group’ in flower here and there on this small bush.
Camellia x williamsii ‘Bow Bells’ with a few flowers. Drooping habit. Not that exciting but the only camellia I could find out today at Manley Cottage.
2021 – CHW
To Burncoose to start this year’s garden planting.
This young and rare Carpinus has been totally ringbarked by squirrels from top to bottom.
Ilex mutchagara (perhaps Ilex mitis var. mutchagara) is a UK and Ireland record tree in Burncoose Garden. I wanted more close up pictures of the leaves, bark and trunk for my ilex article. It is clearly a suckering species with interesting knobbly bark. Widespread in Africa this one must have come from a colder location as it is untouched by last week’s Beast.
Flowers on a Rhododendron arboreum hybrid.
Styrax japonicus is quickly a suckering clump if the roots get to the surface.
As large an area of new planting as we have had at Burncoose for many years after the east wind last spring felled two huge mature beech and one younger one. We then cleared all the laurel up to the old walled garden and will replant a new laurel wind protection hedge further back. The two beech stumps were too much for the digger and remain in situ to rot away. There will be honey fungus in the area so we have not planted many rhododendrons. Some lilacs, Philadelphus and Deutzia to give summer colour. Magnolia ‘Caerhays Splendour’ is the centrepiece with Magnolia ‘Raspberry Fun’, Magnolia ‘Antje Zandee’, Magnolia ‘Blue Opal’ and Magnolia ‘Mighty Mouse’ included as well. A new kalmia planting too as the tennis court plants are showing their age. A mixture of rarities and colour for visitors. The other half of the clearing cannot be planted until the tree surgeon finally removes the dying turkey oak which threatens to hit the record sized Magnolia sargentiana var. robusta as you can see here.
A bit of pollarding needed on the Magnolia mollicomata hit by the beech trees.
We also started away six different Pseudopanax varieties across the path where there used to be an old nursery bed. The objective, in 10 years or so, is to grow enough of this genus to apply for national collection status. There are three species in the garden already.
Our first consignment of liner plants from France since Brexit has arrived safely. The paperwork and certification cost around £360. So much for the ‘free trade’ deal but at least there were no tariffs.
In the cold the specimen cycads have been having artificial light as well as heat.
2020 – CHW
Drizzle, showers and a poor day to photograph magnolias.A leafless Buddleia farreri already coming into flower on the drive. A winter(ish) flowering species.
First flowers at the very top of an unnamed (but good) Magnolia ‘Lanarth’ seedling in Old Park. Nothing else out yet in Old Park on the magnolia front which is good.
In Forty Acres a mature seedling which looks more like a Magnolia mollicomata seedling than a campbellii seedling. I have never seen this properly in flower before. Perhaps 6/10.
Windblown flowers on Magnolia campbellii ‘Ethel Hillier’ which is always early. Alba Group but from Hilliers wild collected seed and named after Sir Harold’s mother.
Views across the magnolia planting area at the centre of Forty Acres Wood. Nothing out yet except Ethel and the mollicomata seedling above.
Magnolia campbellii ‘Sidbury’ in Penvergate. Many flowers totally destroyed by Storm Ciara. Lizzie and five dogs also look on.
Magnolia ‘Peter Smithers’ (we have queried the label in previous years) looking better and with more flowers than I have ever seen. Having been critical previously I think it is well worth its place today even if it is not nearly as pink as the reference books say it should be.
On the day we open outside the back yard is looking good!
2019 – CHW
The garden is rushing out and we can seldom have had more to see at the start of public opening (tomorrow) in February.Narcissus cyclamineus full out on the top bank.
Magnolia ‘F J Williams’ coming out in the Auklandii Garden. How do you describe this colour in words?
Magnolia ‘Red Lion’ is now full out in Kennel Close.
Prunus conradinae just showing its first flowers.
Although it is nearly dusk Magnolia ‘Black Tulip’ is just showing colour on two buds at the apex of the small tree.
Magnolia ‘Plum Pudding’ now worthy of its name a fortnight after the first two flowers were blown open.
The gigantic flowers of Camellia ‘Mrs D W Davis’ are just appearing.
2018 – CHW The three young cherry trees by the Green Gate are at their best despite this week’s frost which has not touched them or the common garlic which is coming up in strength near the entrance.
This is Prunus incisa ‘The Bride’ with delicate white flowers and a fairly rounded or compact habit (rather than upright and erect). Shrubby in fact!
The taller growing Prunus x incam ‘Okame’ is also plastered in flower from top to bottom and visible 100 yards away.
Prunus x incam ‘Shosar’ is a more recent planting and with more stunted growth. The flower trusses are even larger than on ‘Okame’. Splendid!
Rhododendron cilpinense is just showing colour by the cash point and will probably pop open on the day that the gardens formally do.
2017 – CHW
The Rubus tricolor bank has had its annual haircut ready for opening. It will soon grow out again.
Through the arch the magnolia has been blown into a little more colour by the east wind.
The large clump of Sarcocca hookeriana var digyna by the cash point is full out and looking good. This used to be a single plant in ‘Georges Garden’ before the area was covered in tarmac as car parking for disabled visitors. A good suckering and spreading plant for a cold, shady and trampled area.
A big tidy up for opening. Half the pyrus tree was dead and has now gone. The hydrangeas have had a ‘proper’ prune as has the Lonicera nitida. All the ivy gone too but two bags of chippings now look ugly in full view and must go too from the lower staff car park.
Another white very early flowering prunus which I cannot find in the planting plans and had not registered with me before. No label has survived of course. Quite nice and flowering next to another Prunus ‘Okame’. Anyone any ideas?
A fourth Prunus ‘Okame’ right next to the Green Gate is also showing up well and in a good place for early visitors to see. This is an outstanding variety which the nursery ought to sell.
Despite the recent cold the hydrangeas by Green Gate are reshooting already. The dead heading and pruning has yet to happen but it is pretty clear where to snip on the stems.
The new lapageria planted outside my study window has made excellent new growth in its first year and is still growing now. The value of dung in the planting pit is clear but some slug damage too sadly on the oldest and larger leaves.
2016 – CHW
Yesterday evening a trip to inspect a few squirrel drays for activity but there was none!
On the way above Orchid House Nursery I discover a smallish Magnolia ‘Lanarth’ (top of lawn) which is clearly an original scion from the lawn at Lanarth propagated by Eisenhut in Switzerland. There are five perfect Lanarth flowers now sadly frosted and over but a major acquisition for the Caerhays collection and a true original which is so very different (again) from the New Zealand form.
Above the greenhouse the supposedly ‘yellow’ Magnolia campbellii is flowering for only the second time with six to eight flowers. This scion came as one of three from Mount Congreve gardens near Cork where the original I saw did have pale yellow buds as this plant does although ours opens white. Such was the scarcity and value of these three plants that they were the ‘unlabelled treasures’ in the greenhouse. I am not absolutely sure this is the correct plant planted in 2008 but it is reasonable to assume it is in such a prime position. (We planted another below Donkey Shoe two years ago and must now propagate this 2008 plant too. The third grafted plant I think died in the Auklandii Garden a year after planting and hence the slight confusion.)
There is a yellowish/green tinge to the buds on Magnolia campbellii ‘Strybling White’ as we have seen but this is a different yellow (with no green tinge) and a much bigger/better flower. The shape of the flower, while Magnolia campbellii in shape generally, is radically different from our original Magnolia campbellii Alba’s from China which have much larger flowers with a tall triangular centre as the flower begins to open. It is well worth its place nevertheless.
Along the track in the same clearing Magnolia ‘Mossmans Giant’ is beginning to open a huge plant planted only in 2007. In nine years it has grown to about 20 feet fully exposed to the wind. It will be a real ‘eye catcher’ in 40 years’ time. Magnolia ‘Todds Forty Niner’, the first pre Christmas magnolia, is now over but with leaf coming.
Magnolia ‘Caerhays Belle’ is starting to show colour all over – record early of course this year as normally out late March or early April.
1969 – FJW
8° of frost outside Red Room at 8 am.1963 – FJW
Fairly cold spell returned. Still no Camellias. Big clear out of Rookery by Hemsleyana. This is a remarkably lengthy time of cold in an already late year.
1933 – JCW
As in 1931.1931 – JCW
Camellia speciosa is good, the Hamamelis are over, Sutchuenense x are all good here and in the Beech Walk. Moupinense has been good for three weeks.1929 – JCW
A long spell of cold, a fair lot of Barbatum open, Lutescens has had some flower ever since the autumn, Moupinense opening and frosted any bits of colour on anything but Barbatum. Camellia speciosa in the bed are very nice.1908 – JCW
Sent some Cyc hybrids to Dinton.1900 – JCW
The first H Irving is opening, no other named trumpets are near it.
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